Tuesday, November 25, 2008

forced blog break

Just checking in to let you know that I'll be off for a few more days. My laptop crashed late last week. We were hoping to have the new hard drive installed by Sunday, but things are not going as planned. Between wrong parts being shipped and Dell scheduling help calls and then not calling when they scheduled them, I'm not too happy with them right now.
Picassa was loaded on the laptop, not on our desktop, so for now I have no access to pictures. I do have plenty to show you though - a new baby quilt, a button bracelet, baby booties, a kimono style pj set for a baby, a cardigan for me, a bubble dress for Trixie(the last four items will be models in the shop before I get to enjoy them) and the thing that makes me happiest - a freshly painted laundry room. I'm sure you're all dying to see pictures of a beige cement floor. It's amazing what I can get done when I'm not spending all my time reading blogs on the laptop.
I hope to have something figured out by next Monday. If you're in the US - enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and I'll be back to posting soon. Also, please be patient if you've been trying to reach me via e-mail. It's much harder to answer that in a timely fashion without the laptop.

Friday, November 21, 2008

have a cuppa

Pam, I hope we got together for coffee before this posts (I've been on blogger autopilot this week and am actually typing this on Monday morning). If not, Surprise!
I thought coffee cup holders would make cute gifts for girlfriends this year and began working out a pattern that would use a lot of scraps. The basic Starbuck's paper holder served as my template.
Piecing the body was easy. I dug into the button stash and made use of those often forgotten decorative stitches on my machine. However, I wanted a neat finish on the top and bottom.

Bias tape seemed like a great idea. It looks clean and I'm happy with the outcome, but it's unlikely I'll be doing the hand sewing required in the final step on anymore of these. (So Pam, you have a VERY limited edition.) I like to handsew, but this got tedious. Quickly.

Maybe I can turn down the edges of the exterior and lining and just sew them together with a decorative stitch. Hmmmm.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

thrifty thursday

I got really lucky at the thrift shop last week. It's pretty rare I find any good vintage patterns there. Usually it's stuff from the 80's or early 90's that I'd rather forget about.
That first one? Now I know what I'm making Basia for Christmas this year...
The one next to it is dated 1957.
These two are so old that the pattern pieces come precut. There's no copyright date anywhere on the pattern or instructions and looking around online wasn't much of a help (or I'm really bad at internet searches which is probably the case). Any guesses on year? The cost of each might be a good clue as well - $.15!

In case I want to dress like the cast of Mad Men. And who wouldn't?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

new craft alert

I promised myself I wouldn't buy yarns because I've banned myself from taking up knitting or crochet. I didn't make any promises about wool that hadn't been spun into a yarn.
I've had roving and hand felting needles for a bit. I've checked out project books from the library and still not given it a go. Last weekend I picked up a kit at the shop and that did the trick. Woolpets did a great job with the instructions and it helped so much that we had actual samples in the shop of how the finished project should look and feel.

There's enough wool and other supplies in the kit to make at least one more hedgehog and probably a baby sized one too.

The kids can't touch this one either. Not til I'm done cooing over her.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

better late than never - again

Angie, I may be months late, but your pencil roll is finally finished. I know you were going to let the Dirt Monkey use it, but I've decided it's officially yours.
In case the kids forget, you can point to the monogram.

To appease the little guy, he can carry plenty of crayons or colored pencils in this. In fact, there's even room for a toy car or two.

Want to take any bets on how many days it takes me to get to the post office?
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Monday, November 17, 2008

aloha, amber

It's that time again. Another block for Common Threads is due. This one is for Amber in Hawaii. I can't help but wonder if she loves these gorgeous florals because of where she lives. She asked for some version of a log cabin block. As I browsed other common threaders blogs, I noticed a lot of us were drawn to the birds we were given as focal points in our designs. "Bird of Paradise" comes to mind when I look at all of our completed blocks.

This was the first time I gave needle turn hand applique a try. I decided to cover that attempt with some blanket stitch embroidery to disguise the wonky (and not in a good way) parts. The musical note was a later addition and I'm not sold on it. (Amber, feel free to pick out those stitches if you don't care for it either.)

This one should fly into her mailbox in the next few days.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

the kids

Enjoying the rain and her older brother's hand me down rain gear.

Opening night from a couple weeks ago. He was a townsperson. I got the best surprise ever the night I saw the show. He never told me that he was one of the dancers. Glenn started waltzing with one of the townswomen and I started weeping.

Note to self: I need to take some more photos of the kids - Had to go back to Halloween to find one of Ellie. Taken at Trixie's preschool parade.

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Friday, November 14, 2008


These pictures showed up in my email a few days after Trish got home from her Halloween visit.
While she was testing my sewing pattern, I was purging fabric and reorganizing the closet to make room for the new stuff. I had no idea it was so contagious.
She even broke out the label maker!

This brings me one step closer to becoming my idol, Peter Walsh.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

thrifty thursday

This is the last week of posts from the garage sale, I promise. There was just too much for one week, or even two. The 40 packages of bias tape and 30 or so of ric rac haven't even been photographed. I put that and some other small items away without even thinking about it.
Mom helped me dig through an enormous bin of thread to pull out all the Gutterman and Mettler spools. This picture doesn't show it well, but there are about 100 spools in this pile.(And what I bought did not even make a dent in the amount of thread that was there.)
Who can resist old, wooden spools? Not me. Bought all of those too. The long spool in there is elastic thread. I want to try gathering fabric with that one of these days. -Maybe on a smock top for one of the girls.

Most of these are fat quarters and half yard cuts. A few are yard cuts. I'm dying to make every quilt in the Prairie Children and Their Quilts doll quilt book that I have, but those fabrics aren't types I would normally buy for any other sewing. As a result I've not moved forward much on those. This was a cheap way to gather the right colors and genres of fabrics for a lot of those tiny projects. I snagged a lot of 30's reproduction prints as well.

This though, this was the best thing I found and I've saved it for last.

No, the girls aren't allowed to touch it.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

set the table

The open house was a success. As promised, here are the samples I made for my "Set the Table Placemats and Napkins" pattern. If I can figure out a way to get the illustrations on here, I'll post the pattern sometime. (Graphics are not my strong suit - I printed out my pattern directions and hand drew the simple diagrams that were needed.)
This set is made using the Mary Engelbreit Recipe for Friendship line. It's hard to see, but I made a napkin ring using more of the jumbo ric rac and sewed the buttons on to close the ring. The placemat reverses to the black fabric you see on the napkin.
These were made to show the possibilities of our Christmas fabric lines. Sorry, but I can't remember the line these belong to. They're a little country for my taste, so I didn't pay attention to the names of the fabrics here. The napkin ring is just a length of ric rac tied in a bow. The red plaid is also on the reverse of the placemat.

Customers seemed to like them. I sold over 50 copies of the pattern.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

thrifty thursday

Considering I have shelves of patterns with little time to make them all, I was pretty restrained with those at the garage sale.

The doll and miniature quilts were irresistable though.

So were the vintage redwork patterns.

And these, well I love these.

Finding notes like this on a pattern envelope is wonderful. I like seeing the script as much as the words written.

(Sorry for the no photo post yesterday. I didn't realize until today that the photos didn't load properly. Thanks to Susie Sunshine for the heads up. -Open House at the shop this weekend. I'll be back on Monday with pictures of what I was demonstrating. I even wrote a pattern for it!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Nothing could come close to making me as happy as yesterday's election results, but this puts on a smile on my face.
I finally finished laundering, folding and putting away all the new fabric acquisitions.
This is the closet in my basement sewing studio. It will never look this neat ever again, so I'm glad I have visual proof that it once was pristine. All the stuff in here is 1/2yd or larger cuts. (Fat quarters and scraps are kept elsewhere.) I put upholstery goods on the top shelf, most garment fabric fills the second shelf. From there on down, it's generally quilting cottons split up by color. The bolts are three yards or more of particular fabrics. Hidden in a basket behind them are some wool sweaters that have been felted and are waiting to be turned into something else.
These got their very own space.

Yes, I labeled the shelves. It's a sickness.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day

Carol wants to know why I was buying spiders. Okay, they weren't real spiders. We were looking for the giant Halloween spiders in the clearance section. I'd like to have more to put in the spruce tree next to the house and on the front window. No luck though. That final item on the list made us laugh pretty hard. Or maybe it was exhaustion from all the Halloween activities and craft room organizing going on around here.
No pictures today. I'm taking advantage of some unseasonably warm and gorgeous weather (70's!) to sand those headboards for Ellie's room outside. There's no way to do it secretly so she's under the impression that I'm doing them for "a friend who doesn't know how to paint".
Tonight I'll be watching election returns while I fold more fabric and finish up laundry. Chris is the lucky one - he'll be downtown at the Obama rally.

Monday, November 3, 2008

the kids - halloween edition

Posting these very late due to a whirlwind of activity this weekend.
Pumpkin carving on Friday.
Some of us needed help from Auntie Trish, who is visiting this weekend.

What the child who will not let me sew Halloween costumes for him anymore wore. He trick-or-treats with the guys now too.

Stopping at the home of our new friend Mrs. B (for Bemused).

Hours have been devoted to fabric organization this weekend. Those great finds had to go somewhere. If all goes well, I should be able to post some photos of a newly cleaned craft area (or at least parts of it) later this week.
In the meantime, Trish is still here and we're off to the store with the following list:
light pull chain
Hello Kitty band-aids
flat iron
black socks
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